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Less than 24 hours after the mother and her boyfriend reported the boy missing, those two are now under arrest, charged with the boy's homicide. Police believe it happened at the couple's Corona home.
Police were at the home all day Monday investigating.
Friends and family members sobbed as Corona police announced what many had feared: That when the search for the missing child was called off Monday morning, it was because police already knew the boy was dead.
Detectives say it started Sunday when the boy's mother and her boyfriend reported the child missing from Lincoln Park, just less than a mile from the home.
They told police the boy had apparently wandered off, but detectives didn't buy the story, and Monday, the mother, Belinda Magana, and her boyfriend, Nareesh Narine, were placed under arrest for homicide.
"Usually when you have a 2-and-a-half-year-old just wanders away and you weren't keeping an eye on them, that's not normal for a parent," said Corona Police Lieutenant Mark Johnson. "Things from the beginning just didn't seem to add up, the whole big picture."
Police believe the couple killed the boy at their home on Saturday and took his body to a remote part of Lytle Creek. Investigators say they found the boy's body buried in a shallow grave there.
Police are also investigating the scene at the Corona home. Sunday, police seized a truck as part of the investigation. Monday, police dug through the suspects' trash, as well as the laundry.
Neighbors couldn't believe the accusations.
"They love their child," said one unidentified neighbor. "There's no way."
"They're nice people, you know?" said Jennifer Lopez, another neighbor. "They're nice -- he seems to be a nice person -- I don't know what happened. I don't know what the situation is. You know, it's just sad that that happened to the little boy -- I mean, he's 2 years old; he's innocent -- it's just really sad that this had to happen."
Corona Police would not go into detail on how the boy died. Police were wrapping up the investigation at the residence Monday afternoon. Police did say they do not believe the death was an accident.
The body found in Lytle Creek is believed to be that of the missing child. But they are still waiting for positive identification from the San Bernardino County Coroner.